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‘Green Capitals’ In Europe

  • February 25th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

Hamburg and Stockholm have been named Europe’s first-ever “green capitals”, in a new award incentive designed by the European Commission to promote environmentally-friendly city living.

Budapest was the winner of the 2008 European Mobility Week award in acknowledgement of its efforts to promote green transport…


Awards were handed out by the European commissioner for science and research Janez Potocnik in Brussels on Monday (23.2.09).

Stockholm and Hamburg were chosen from a shortlist of eight finalists which included Bristol, Amsterdam, Freiburg im Breisgau, Copenhagen, Oslo and Munster.

The two finalists were chosen in the first year of the prize; it is given two years in advance to give the winning city time to prepare events and benefit from the title.

European Green Capital Promotional Video

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Stockholm will be given the ‘green capital’ title in 2010, while Hamburg will take over the title in 2011.

Judges were impressed with Stockholm with its many clean features:

• High recycling rates
• Abundance of green spaces
• Congestion-charge scheme

The Swedish capital has reduced its carbon by 25% since and aims to become a fossil-fuel-free city by 2050.

The German city of Hamburg has set its carbon emissions reductions to 40% to be achieved by 2020 and 80% reduction by 2050.

Hamburg’s urban development and environmental policy officer, Anja Hadjuk, said the city was a microcosm for Europe and that it could show “every aspect of European environmental policy”.

European environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said the two cities could act as role models for the rest of Europe.

“I congratulate Stockholm and Hamburg for their efforts to give priority to the environment and quality of life,” he said.


Budapest beat Almada in Portugal and the Croatian capital Zagreb to claim the transport prize.

The Hungarian capital was chosen based on its success in raising public awareness during European Mobility Week, an event dedicated to promoting greener transport.

Budapest promoting cleaner transport:

• Held two consecutive car-free days during the week
• Held an open-air exhibition of green vehicles
• Introduced new bicycle lanes and park-and-ride schemes
• Increased costs for city-centre parking

In 2008, over 2000 European cities and towns participated in European Mobility Week.

Participating towns and cities are required to organise one car-free day and initiate one permanent measure that promotes environmentally-friendly transport policy.


European Union, ‘Environment: Stockholm and Hamburg win first European Green Capital awards’ (23.2.09),, (25.2.09).

Jennifer Rankin, European Voice, ‘EU names first ‘green capitals’ (24.2.09),, (25.2.09).